Category Archives: Psychology

Use the CSBOC To Increase Self-Awareness

Did you know that Swiss analyst, Carl Jung, who gave us the concept of archetypes and influenced appreciation of dream analysis, also had great respect for the Chinese I Ching? He used it as as a tool for making the unconscious conscious.

In fact, Jung was instrumental in bringing the first usable English translation to the West. He wrote the introduction to the Wilhelm/Baynes version by giving an example of using it. He queried asking for a comment on the translation. The answer received was, in effect, that a vessel of great value which had fallen into disrepair was being restored.

My small yellow book follows Jung’s example. In the Introduction, I ask, “What does the Common Sense Book of Change (CSBOC)  have to offer its readers?”

Its answer: “Awareness.” A changing line yields the likely future outcome of following through. “Gain.” (I’ll show you how this works below.)

But even before starting, the book emphasizes the importance of practicing a thoughtful process of question- asking:

The quality of results depends on the state of mind in which information is received. It is therefore essential to learn how to approach the Book of Change in the best possible frame of mind.

So quiet yourself. Get past the clutter of chaotic thoughts to focus on forming a worthy question.

. . . There are many techniques for calming the mind and focusing attention. One of these is usually practiced before asking the question.

Bottom line: consulting the Book of Change is not only compatible with yogic and mindfulness practices of introspection, contemplation and meditation. They work synergistically. Settling the mind to ask the right question induces a meditative state. The ability to induce a meditative state enhances the quality of questions asked and value of answers received.

To give you the flavor of working with The Common Sense Book of Change, I’m sharing the example given in the book.

If you initially feel uneasy with this approach to increasing self-awareness, you might find the answers to commonly asked questions reassuring.

If this is new to you, try approaching it with the attitude for approaching the unfamiliar recommended by Samuel Coleridge, a “willing suspension of disbelief.” Or, as I do, at the start, prayerfully invoke protection and guidance according to your beliefs.

 

 

SAMPLE READING

First I collect my materials. I need three pennies, a pad of paper or notebook, a pen or pencil and the Book of Change.

Then I find a quiet place to sit. I take a few minutes to settle down. I clear my mind of other thoughts and silently watch the breath until it becomes slow and even.

Then I think carefully about what is going on, what is troubling me, and the issues I need to know more about. I list the decisions I have to make and consider what consequences are likely to follow from my future actions.

For the example in this book, I have decided to ask, “What does The Common Sense Book of Change have to offer its readers?”

I enter the date and my question in the Diary Section at the back of the book.

Concentrating on my question, I take my three pennies, shake them a few times in my gently closed fist and roll them onto the flat surface in front of me.

The first throw of my three coins comes up three heads. The value of heads is two, so I multiply three times two to get six.

Since this is an even number, I draw a broken line on my pad of paper. It will be the bottom line. Because all three coins were the same, I place an “X” next to this line to show that it is a changing line.

My bottom line looks like this:

Place Throws Values Sum Line

Bottom H H H 2 2 2 6 ___ ___X

Then I take the three coins and throw them again. This time I get two tails and one head. The value of tails is one, so I add one and one to get two. I add this to the two for the heads coin to get four.

Since four is an even number, I place a broken line in the second place over the bottom line. My pad of paper now looks like this:

Place Throws Values Sum Line

Line 2    T T H 1 1 2 4 ___ ___

Bottom H H H 2 2 2 6 ___ ___ X

̀I follow the same procedure four more times. My final hexagram looks like this:

Place Throws Values Sum Line

Top       T H H 1 2 2 5 _______

Line 5   T H H 1 2 2 5 _______

Line 4    T T H 1 1 2 4 ___ ___

Line 3     T T H 1 1 2 4 ___ ___

Line 2     T T H 1 1 2 4 ___ ___

Bottom  H H H 2 2 2 6 ___ ___ X

The next step is to find the number of my reading. I turn to the chart at the back of the book. The bottom three lines of my hexagram are all broken.

I turn to the chart at the back. In the “lower trigram” column of the chart, the picture which matches this figure is “k’un.”

The top three lines of my hexagram are two solid lines over a broken line. In the “upper trigram” row of the chart, the picture which matches this figure is “sun.”

By going to the box which shows the combination of upper and lower trigrams, I find the number 20. I therefore turn to Hexagram 20 for answers to my question.

Hexagram 20 is AWARENESS. So the answer to my question, “What does the Common Sense Book of Change have to offer its readers?” is AWARENESS. It reads:

Seek increased AWARENESS of the patterns which underlie all natural events. Tune yourself to the creative source of natural change. Then harmony becomes a way of life. Secrets of the arts and sciences will be revealed. Human relationships will become smooth. Mistakes of mis-calculation will be prevented. Avoid unnatural leaders.

Because the bottom line is a changing line, I go to the page directly opposite the hexagram, titled “Direction of Change.” I read the sentences for the bottom line. They advise:

Narrow-minded self-interest is not enlightened. Broaden your views. Include others. (42)

The number in parens after the warning represents the hexagram which results when the bottom line changes to its opposite, a firm line.

The new hexagram, GAIN, indicates the change that would result from the AWARENESS this book has to offer its readers. Turning to Hexagram 42, I read:

GAINS can be made after analyzing the situation correctly. When a person’s life goals are kept firmly in mind, no time is wasted. A way can be found to use whatever resources are at hand to serve one’s purpose. Serving others can be compatible with personal gain. Avoid smug self-satisfaction.

I then turn to the back of the book. In the Diary Section, I write the numbers of the hexagram and any changing lines next to my question. Then I decide what future actions I to take.

Finally, I enter a few sentences to describe my thoughts and decisions into the Diary Section. That way, I know I can return to my question, the reading and my decisions later to think more about them.

I hope this helps. Any questions? Comments? Your feedback is welcome.

How Much Do You Know about the Book of Change (& Why Should You Care)?

Tai Chi Tu - sized

Listed below are eight common myths and misconceptions shrouding the perennial, venerable Chinese I Ching. Answers to these commonly asked questions give good reasons why you would benefit greatly from working with it.

circled Q

ONE

Q. What does an ancient book from a foreign land have to do with me, here and now?

A. Everything. The I Ching as a compendium of Natural Law is neither time nor place-bound. It speaks to the questions we all ask about the human condition. For over 8,000 years, with good reason, it has endured as the foundation of Chinese healing, governing and military arts alike. No equivalent exists in the West. Most importantly, it fills a fatal gap in the way Westerners have been taught to think.

TWO

Q. If it is so important, why isn’t it taught to young people in schools?

A. Good question! Probably because the assumptions described below are taught as if fact.

THREE

Q. Isn’t the Book of Change unscientific – just hocus pocus? Primitive or New Age superstition?

A. Like any other wisdom tradition which has endured over time, the I Ching has inevitably been subject to misuse. This doesn’t, however, reflect on its inherent value. In fact, this compendium of Natural Law is so highly sophisticated that Western science is just beginning to catch up with it.

For example, in the 1800s, Leibniz acknowledged that its mathematical foundations long preceded his calculus. The single and broken lines of the hexagrams are analogous to binary-digital computer code. Further, its 64 hexagrams have been directly correlated with DNA structure.

FOUR

Q. Question: Is the I Ching a sacred book, like the Bible? Is it part of a religion?

A . Answer: Yes and no. Taoists, Buddhists, and Confucians, despite their differences, hold the I Ching in highest regard. It is used to connect with inner knowing, on the one hand, and consulted for practical advice regarding every aspect of daily life, on the other. To them, the sacred and secular are inseparably intertwined, interwoven as the warp and woof of the fabric of life.

This book maps the dynamics of the Law of Karma – the foundation of practical ethics. Much has been written elsewhere on this subject.

FIVE

Q. Isn’t The Book of Change pagan and therefore off-limits to Christians? Doesn’t it contradict or oppose the teachings of the Bible?

A. There is no conflict. Natural and Divine Law are two different subjects. The Book of Change is a compendium of Natural Law. The two are compliments. As such, Chinese sages respected nature as a manifestation of the Tao, or God. As described elsewhere, both the Old and New Testaments show an understanding of the nature compatible with the I Ching worldview. This is quite different from pagans who by-pass Divine Law, worshiping nature instead.

In fact, many people with the best of intentions find their lives going terribly wrong for lack of the understanding (call it emotional intelligence) cultivated by working with Natural Law. Ongoing sexual and financial scandals which plague hierarchies secular and religious are directly linked to this ignorant lack of awareness: a fatal blind-spot in our education.

SIX

Q, Is the I Ching used to predict the future, like a crystal ball? Is it meant for divination, meaning to get what one wants or locate missing objects?

A. Advanced sages who understood numerology used it to produce astonishing results. But the I Ching is most often used as a method for making better decisions, in part because it serves to make the unconscious conscious. Truer to original meditative intent, people often use it to practice mindfulness. Working with The Book of Change helps quiet the mind, increase self-understanding, and then better understanding of others.

SEVEN

Q. Can the I Ching be fully understood or appreciated without knowledge of the Chinese language?

A. Hindu’s are attached to the exclusive value of the Sanskrit language, Jews to ancient Hebrew, and Muslims to the original language of the Koran. However, the source of truth is beyond language. Its cultural expression at a particular time and place varies, but the basic essentials are necessarily the same.

EIGHT

Q. Isn’t it better to learn about natural law from the European philosophers Locke, Hobbes, and Rousseau, as America’s founding fathers did?

A. No. Their philosophy is intellectual speculation. Although they use the same words, that is where the similarity ends. The I Ching is based upon thousands of years of experience by leaders trained in the meditative arts to observe their inner states. They recognized exact correlations between inner and outer experience. Through careful observation, they detailed the operations of nature and the dynamics which drive human relationships.

. . . Tell Them How the World Works

teach-sized

In writing this post, I surprised myself and took a different direction. I intended to pick up where the last left off, completing Dr. Phil’s sentence: “If you love your children, tell them how the world works.”

There, I quoted an exchange between Dr. Jordan B. Peterson and a radical student on the subject of identity.

Student: My question isn’t about [the article], but more about identity. . . . Maybe nature lends itself to creation of arbitrary structures within society. But then people self-identify with these categories. . . . How do people reckon with the parts of their identity that may or may not contribute to environments where people feel more estranged, more alone?

JBP: That’s why you educate . . to separate the wheat from the chaff. Because you’re a historical creature. And it’s outside of you and inside of you.

Well. He’s right . . . but only partially so. For we are more than mere “historical creatures.”

What I would add to the mix is a deeper, more comprehensive component of identity. For that, I rely on the gravely misunderstood and underrated I Ching, the Chinese Book of Change, along with its more accessible and familiar spin-offs: Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching and Sun Tzu’s classic Art of War. Together, they represent a blind spot in Western thinking, a glaring deficit in our knowledge banks responsible for dangerous deficits in every aspect of today’s civilization.

The I Ching and both spin-offs detail how the world works. They are especially useful when dealing with conflict.This is the gift of love I’ve labored long to restore to common knowledge.

To the extent we applied this knowledge to questions of identify and social structure, we’d have a hope of restoring common sense and sanity to our lives.

Earlier, I spend hours putting together pictures of shallow circum-stance and the biblical answer to suffering. However, instead, what I decided to do here is share three related essays. Each applies ancient wisdom to current confusions.

Essay 15 on Roles offers a broader view of gender and social identity. Essay 13 addresses how roles are learned in the Family. This in turn builds into rethinking the structure of Community, Essay 14. This is a lot to take in, I know. But please stay with me. It’s well worth taking the time to give these tried and tested truths your careful consideration.They could well make your New Year go much better.

Also, by the way . . . Dr. Peterson repeatedly states his respect for Taoist philosophy. Everything below is in harmony with and supports his view of how the world works.

Namaste2

Essay 52. ROLES

Traditional business concepts of organizational structure and management technique often condition managers to classify and measure everything and everyone they are responsible for. Organizational charts assign names to little boxes in hierarchal order. . . Not that there is no value in all these charts and systems; on the contrary, they offer a worthwhile way of understanding the fundamental structure. But the structure should serve, as chords do in jazz, as a basis for innovation and improvisation. — Autry & Mitchell, Real Power: Business Lessons from the Tao Te Ching

Leaders must be people who will not fight change but who will anticipate it, and can be challenged enough by it to enjoy it. . . We need a new kind of human being who can divorce himself from his past, who feels strong and courageous and trusting enough to trust himself in the present situation. — Abraham H. Maslow, The Farther Reaches of Human Nature

THE FRONT

Role refers to a part or character that an actor plays in a performance. By extension, it refers to a function or office assumed by someone for limited duration to fulfill a particular purpose. We wear roles like clothing put on by day, shed by night.

Success in the world depends on the ability to choose a suitable part and play it with sincerity and skill, aware of how that role fits into the larger pattern of family and business organization. When studied, practiced and performed to perfection, a well-defined role provides a structure from which to relate to others and serve a useful function within the whole.

Knowing one’s particular place in the universe at any given time, in specific contexts, is an important part of self-knowledge. It’s possible to wear an array of “hats,” suitable to many complimentary roles, even during the course of a day.

In Shakespeare’s tragedy, MacBeth laments, “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more.”

When we live unconsciously, we identify not with our essential true selves, but only the roles arbitrarily assigned by accidents of birth and later, by chance.

Though there are exceptions to the rule, and many variations on the theme, gender is a primary dictator of roles. In the West, girl children are traditionally dressed in pink and trained for reproductive and housekeeper roles with no preparation for transition to a productive middle or old age. Boys are dressed in blue and expected to participate in contact sports, fight wars, earn a living and support a family, also with little thought for what else life may have in store.

For the most part, one’s wealth, business and social opportunities are largely determined by whom one’s parents happen to be. Likewise, religious beliefs and nationality traits are mind-sets usually fixed by place and time of birth. In The Taoist I Ching, the sum of these factors is called cultural conditioning.

A life thus lived on automatic pilot, running on programming that has never been examined, is barely human. One cannot say such a life measures up to God’s gift of free will. There’s no conscious choice involved in the way it’s lived.

The goal of I Ching-based, Taoist training is to

release us from bondage to arbitrary, unnatural conditioning,

so that the mind is freed to return to its universal, pristine nature.

The purpose of overcoming cultural conditioning is not to withdraw from life, but rather to live it consciously and intentionally, to the full. Those who truly know how to act, do so with heart and soul. Rather than merely going through the mechanical gestures of scripted parts spoken without understanding, they play out a changing succession of roles over a lifetime with full awareness and conviction.

Taking on and letting go of roles is either growth-productive or traumatic, depending on one’s philosophy of life. In I Ching context, ephemeral change is natural, not subject to moral judgment as good or bad.

But, to the extent we live unconsciously, we’re but tragic shadows of our true potential. We’re poor players because we know not what we do. The more we become conscious, the more we are able to bring vitality, depth and meaning to the roles we choose, and the more radiant our lives become.

Those in leadership roles with I Ching awareness carefully prepare followers for change, equipping them to meet challenges and survive adversity. People who depend on leaders stuck in the past, unwilling or unable to change, are in deep trouble. Their survival depends on listening to the warnings of conscience in combination with gut instincts, finding positive ways to work around and overcome the dangerous consequences of mismanagement.

THE BACK

The opposite of roles is to be without a part to play. Jobless and/or homeless people are excluded from the give and take of productive daily life, as are incarcerated criminals and those institutionalized with mental or physical health problems. So are slum dwellers whose extreme poverty results in lack of education, skills and access to the work world.

The value of roles is perverted when they’re frozen into masks and performed without authentic involvement. When people identify with roles (or hide behind them) to such an extreme that they forget their true identity, they become disconnected from life. People who think of others only in terms of their roles stereotype them, disrespecting their essential humanity.

11th hour

Essay 13. FAMILY

Confucius

The nature of the chakra cords that you build in your first family will be repeated in all the following relationships that you create later. . . As an adult, you will most likely grow dependent child/mother cords between you and your mate. As you move through life and mature, you gradually transform the child/mother cords into adult/adult ones. Barbara Ann Brennan, Hands of Light

In the family we learn love, patience, respect, nurturing, affirmation, and health. The family also teaches us about competition, domination, selfishness, and deceit. The family is thus a relatively efficient learning system for the development of mind, spirit, and body. It involves the whole self. — Tom Chappell, The Soul of a Business

For whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother. – Jesus Christ, St. Matthew 12:50

THE FRONT

The Latin root of family means household establishment. An obsolete usage refers to all the people living in the same house, including servants and slaves. A later definition refers to all the relatives living in the same house, including extended family. Only recently has it come to mean a nuclear unit, the traditional set of parents (one husband, one wife) and their off-spring.

A family can mean a group of people related by ancestry or marriage, including relatives. It can be all those claiming descent from a common ancestor, tribe, or clan — a lineage. A crime syndicate under a single leader is also called a family.

The extended Kennedy clan is a shining example of family cohesiveness. Yet, in an interview with Larry King, Maria Shriver described lessons her family never taught her. The “real world” lessons in her book, intended to spare others from learning the hard way, are strikingly similar to I Ching basics. For example, she observes, “Behavior has consequences.” This, of course, is the Law of Karma.

Ideally, children should learn the basics within the family. If we trained ourselves and our children in I Ching ways, there’d be no need for each generation to reinvent the wheel over by repeating the same mistakes. Sheltering them from the “real world” isn’t a kindness.

A better way to protect them is to provide the wisdom tools

to give them the practical edge,

help them meet the challenges of adult life

with intelligence and self-confidence.

As Brennan indicates, first family bonds are instinctual. As we extend outwards, we unconsciously tend to replicate parent/child dynamics in later relationships. However, if we succeed in maturing and evolving over time, we can put childish ways behind and succeed in forming adult relationships based on conscious choice and commitment.

As Chappell indicates, within the nuclear family as in the family of man, everything, both positive and negative is possible. As we learn to articulate what we see and respond wisely to experiences in the family environment, we become increasingly able to apply these skills in school, business and extended political situations.

In I Ching context, however, as Confucius indicates,

the goal of improving and sustaining family relationships

isn’t achieved by extending ever outwards.

It requires looking inward.

Efforts to improve personality lead to the necessity to know one’s mind. This in turn leads still deeper into exploring one’s innermost awareness. Then, in due time, inward movement cycles outwards once again, incorporating the benefits of inward journey into one’s personal and practical everyday life.

Within families of every size, whether communities, religions, corporations and governments, some live the law while others do not. As Christ taught, those who love and choose truth form the nucleus of his ultimate extended family.

Those who love life, who seek truth and understanding and do their best to help others as they can, have more in common with each other than with evil-doers within their own groups.

THE BACK

Opposites of family include strangers in our community whom we’ve never gotten to know, foreigners raised abroad who speak languages and practice customs we don’t understand, as well as others we’ve been taught to mistrust and dislike.

The antithesis of family is foe, including competitive opponents and military enemies. Whereas families are ideally founded on common beliefs, goals and mutual support, those who threaten or sabotage others undermine healthy relationships. Gratitude and hope build communities. Mistrust, hostility and abuse break them down.

book header bird

Essay 14. COMMUNITY

We can create communities and relationships that are based on love and intimacy rather than fear and hatred. We can learn from the suffering of others. Awareness is the first stage in healing. . . Likewise, we can create a new model of medicine as we move into the next century that is more competent and cost-effective as well as being more caring and compassionate. — Dean Ornish, Love and Survival

As we accept the smallness of the world, the density of the population, and the myriad influences on individuals and families, someday we may recognize the community and even the whole society as the patient. Imagine, then, what a “doctor of society” might do, what kinds of diseases he or she might treat! — Patch Adams, Gesundheit!

Each celestial body, in fact each and every atom, produces a particular sound on account of its movement, its rhythm or vibration. All these sounds and vibrations form a universal harmony in which each element, while having its own function and character, contributes to the whole. – Pythagoras, quoted in The Healing Power of Sound

THE FRONT

Community stems from a root word meaning fellowship. In English, the word refers to all the people living in a particular district or city. It can also mean a group of people living together as a smaller social unity within a larger one, and having interests or work in common, such as a college community.

Alternatively, it can refer to a group of nations loosely or closely associated because of common traditions or for political and economic advantage. It also covers similarity of tastes and preferences. The last definition Webster’s gives is the condition of living with others in friendly association and fellowship. The last definition has come full circle back to original meaning.

Communities are founded on a common cause. It can be as practical as survival or as idealistic as freedom. Often, community cohesion is artificially stimulated by fear and hatred of a common enemy.

Hitler inflamed passions against Jews and foreign bankers to mobilize his war-weary country into a second world war even more devastating than the first. Then Americans rallied behind the common goal of defeating enemies of democracy on two fronts, Asia and Europe.

In Common Sense, Thomas Paine wrote about the relationship of divine, natural and human law in a way that inspired readers at the time of the American Revolution to fight for freedom from tyranny. Winning that war did not, however, automatically secure freedom for all times.

Democracy isn’t a static achievement that can be passed on unchanged from one generation to the next. It must renewed and earned again, one individual at a time, each generation at a time, continuously redefined in the context of immediate circumstances.

Nor can the structures of American-style democracy be imposed by force, whole, from the outside, on peoples whose beliefs are shaped by vastly different cultural influences. It is the common respect of life and liberty, not external forms, which is universally translatable.

The music of life that moves every organization, smallest to largest, is the basis of harmonious fellowship. Approaching natural law and social organizations from the deeper understanding of the ancients could inspire a new, more humane and effective approach to international relations now, one based on energy dynamics which the human community share in common.

Sages say that freedom from tyranny begins with dispelling ignorance and overcoming negative emotions. True freedom and stable communities begin with the self-awareness and self-mastery which can be gained by diligent use of wisdom tools like the I Ching. First remembering the core of compassion and caring within, we can then extend and expand this good-will into healing society as well.

Put another way, it’s useless to fight for a democratic world before first cleaning out the inner swamp of negative emotions. Since inner life conditions attract corresponding external experience, fighting in anger and hatred reaps results in kind.

Working to establish positive community relationships before personal attitudes of good-will and willing self-discipline are established is futile. As Covey reminds us, first things must come first.

Conversely, the more individuals free themselves from personal problems, the more they become open to the calling of conscience. They then become increasingly fit to participate as members of a viable community, able to fulfill their part in the harmony of the natural whole.

THE BACK

Street gangs, terrorist groups, religious cults and secret societies are subgroups within the larger community. To the extent that their goals oppose and even endanger the community at large, these organizations are antithetical to the general good.

Pariahs, nomads and outcasts are individuals excluded from society, either voluntarily or by edict. Whether justified or not, their attitudes and behavior are out of harmony with accepted norms.

If enough of them find common cause to band together,

they form alternative groups

which become the foundation of new communities.

Angel Calling

If You Love Your Children . . . .

jigsaw

The missing piece of this post finally fell into place on Christmas Eve of 2017.

I’ve been building on straight-talking Dr. Phil’s excellent advice. If you love your children, tell them how the world works.

I take this to mean that life goes better for those operating on a complete and accurate reality map, who know how to navigate through tough times. It saves the pain and confusion most of us feel, wandering through life blindly bumping up against walls.

My earlier quest was to recover the reality maps missing from childhood years, which I somehow knew must exist. Then it became my life work to share what I’ve been fortunate to find.

To my way of thinking, it is the greatest gift one can give, especially now, at seasonal low ebb, as prelude to the New Year’s returning light.

So I honor psychologist Jordan B. Peterson’s commitment to basic truth telling. I recognize him as another soul compelled by circumstances to the same archetypal quest, however different specific details of the journey may be.

I find the nobility of his compassion for young men especially moving. In his own unique way, the Professor is pouring himself into the work of providing young people – and the parents and grandparents who dearly wish them well – positive means for pushing back against the destructive influence a corrupt education system.

The latest gift added to the common sense tool box is 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. Timing being everything, release is scheduled for January of the New Year, 2018. At the invitation of a literary agent who suggested Dr. Peterson make his ideas accessible to everyday, non-academic readers, he spent five years completing this project.

JBP described the content to Dave Rubin. Essentially, his book advises people to “man up.” All of us have the potential to be much better than we are. Before criticizing the world, our first responsibility is to improve ourselves with discipline, carving out meaning in our lives as a bulwark against the chaos of life’s inevitable hardships.

An especially telling book review listed on amazon.com describes 12 Rules:

Firm but caring. . . . Peterson speaks the way I always wished my father had. . . . He is the right man at the right time, someone capable of showing young men that cleaning up their room has cosmic significance, and that imposing a little order upon chaos is good for the soul, which in turn is good for the world.”—National Review

Lest inevitable trolls claim that he is giving his all only to get rich, let me remind you. He’s made it clear. Personal gain isn’t his motive. In fact, as he warns students, after achieving a certain level, additional income makes no difference to the quality of life.

He already earns enough for his family to live comfortably. He takes no pleasure in the hassles that come with sudden notoriety. He endures them because he has chosen to aim higher – for quality of outcomes.

I’ll give you two good examples of his compassion in action.

On Nov. 17 Andy@andysoraluce tweeted to Dr. Peterson:. . you’re the father I never had :’ )

JBP acknowledged Andy’s message same day, answering, And you’re the son I don’t know . . . get out there and nail it home.

This brief exchange drew 469 likes, 27 retweets and 15 comments.

John The Red tweeted, This is one of the many reasons why we all like you, sir.

Maggie Mae Megan responded, What a great answer.

Cassaubon wrote, I’m 47 years old and never since my high school Philosophy teacher has an academic had such a profound intellectual impact on me. Even greater than an intellectual impact: I feel as if my life has shifted towards an ideal; JBP has helped me seek out and find meaning in life.

jbp w friends

My second example is another exchange that took place on November 16th.. The place: the UW-Madison’s Educational Science Building. The lecture’s subject: Campus Indoctrination.

In the body of his talk, JBP explained:

One of the hallmarks of both post-modernism and ideological thinking is the proclivity to reduce very complex phenomena to a single causes.

One cause used by ideologues to rationalize overthrow of the established order is “thrownness,” meaning the “arbitrary nature of human being”:

. . . you’re a certain race and you’re born with a certain level of intelligence, let’s say, although that can be impaired certainly with enough effort. You’re born in a certain culture with a certain language and in a certain socio-economic class and with a certain degree of attractiveness. And those are all things that are handed to you.

He paraphrases the argument:

The talents and catastrophes of life are by no means equally distributed. From the perspective of the standards of human justice and perhaps human mercy as well, there is something intrinsically unfair, unjust about the structure of existence itself.

Basically, because the distribution of wealth is unequal, life is inherently “unfair.”

The Neo-Marxist argument is flawed, however, because . . . the finger is always pointed at inadequate social structuring as the root cause of suffering. It’s so naive, it’s difficult for me to understand why people can possibly fall for it. There’s the hope that suffering can be relieved if we can just organize our societies properly.

Of those who promote simplistic, counter-productive ideologies, he says:

That’s a consequence of giving your God-given soul over to human dogma. And the universities are absolutely complicit in this. They take young people’s minds . . . they’re more or less looking for an identity . . . and no wonder . . . and they teach them this idiocy.

It also got personal. A questioner asked for JBP’s response to a slanderous article published against him in a campus newspaper, The Daily Cardinal. He dismissed it as “nonsense:”

The ideologues who pen that kind of nonsense have constant themes. Anyone who disagrees with them is pathological in some manner and uses the right of free speech to exercise that pathology. Well, No! Sorry! That’s not the case. . . . It’s palpably absurd.

It was during the Q & A session, the Dr. Peterson again demonstrated compassion. A student raised his hand:

Student: Now for starters, I feel kind of terrible for writing that article. [Laugher and applause from audience.] To give credit where it’s due, it was co-written with others, and I hoped it would come across a little more thoughtful and serious.

JBP: [Roars with laugher.] Are you serious???

Student: Yeah.

JBP: It’s very brave of you to be standing there.

The student persisted, asking a question based on Neo-Marxist assumptions. Picking up on the observation that young people are looking for identity, he wanted to know how to cope with the by-products of social unfairness – alienation and loneliness.

Student: My question isn’t about [the article], but more about identity. Really, what you see in the sense of thrownness. It’s a consequence of human nature. Human nature creates hierarchies.

Hierarchies exclude or groups exclude. It’s necessary to sort. But what we see with a lot of the sorting is that it’s arbitrary. And it’s not the arbitrariness of nature, but rather the arbitrariness of the structures of society.

Maybe nature lends itself to creation of arbitrary structures within society. But then people self-identify with these categories. And these categories may be outdated or based on old understandings that ultimately lead to greater estrangement. So the question is, How do people reckon with the parts of their identity that may or may not contribute to environments where people feel more estranged, more alone?

Dr. Peterson answered:

JBP: That’s why you educate . . to separate the wheat from the chaff. Because you’re a historical creature. And it’s outside of you and inside of you.

And some of it is dead and corrupt, as you just said. And the estrangement is for no functional reason. It’s counter-productive. But until you understand the structures, for better or for worse, you’re in no position to do anything but make it worse.

The purpose of a liberal education is not to turn you into an avatar of capitalism, or of democracy, for that matter. The purpose of a liberal education is to enable you to comprehend the history in which you’re embedded, and then to act as an agent to reconstruct and revitalize that hierarchy.

But that’s a serious matter. And at 18, right out of high school, with no experience whatsoever, and no real education, you’re in absolutely no position whatsoever to be protesting about the structure of the Western world. It’s like, No!

Your observations about the fact that people are alienated by structures: absolutely. It does sort. And it sorts harshly. And of course, because you’re young, you tend to be sorted near the bottom.

But then he softened his remarks by adding encouragement.

JBP: Except I would point out that you’re young, and there’s really something to that. You might think that you have no power because of that, but I can say, You have all the power that youth gives you. And that’s not trivial. Power doesn’t lie where it’s obvious. It really doesn’t . People have more power than they think. But they squander it. They often squander it on ideologies, when they’re not just wasting their time.

And, finally, approval.

JBP: So anyways, it was very brave of you to stand up and ask that question, and take all that. [Huge audience applause.]

In sum, his fundamental attitude of respect earns him respect in return.

Phoenix - sized

Of course, there’s much more to be said on the subject, but that must wait for another day. For now, let me close by giving you the missing puzzle piece I mentioned at the start. On Christmas Eve, I found it in Jesus Calling in the reading for December 25. It describes the purpose hidden in the Christ child’s unfair start.

Try to imagine what I gave up when I came into your world as a baby. I set aside My Glory so that I could identify with mankind. I accepted the limitations of infancy under the most appalling conditions – a filthy stable. . .

I became poor so that you might become rich.

So, please take a minute to think about it. What if you too came here on a soul mission, given challenges perfectly matched to your unique calling? What if you too have infinite inner resources to draw upon in fulfilling the deeper meaning and ultimate purpose your life?

What if life is complex and and mysterious, but inherently just?

It’s quite possible.

Food for thought.

Angel Calling

 

Peace & Good Will

At this time of year, hearing Handel’s perennial Messiah on the radio makes me nostalgic. His oratorio brings written words to life with stirring music. When I think of angelic voices, I imagine choirs singing:

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:13-14)

heavenly host

This music was the key to my formative years. Two marvelous summers in a row at the National Music Camp – a wooded, lakeside retreat in Interlochen, Michigan – I sang in the Festival Choir.

Outdoor rehearsals blended youthful with adult voices and orchestral instruments with the sounds of wind blowing through the pines. Birds joined in, singing from tree tops. Nature and music wove a fabric of indelible memories.

Over time, I built on that early experience, expanding what I learned as a musician to encompass right relationships and effective governance. Harmony remains the consistent standard.

Today, I wish you angelic peace and good will at this annual solstice nadir, with its implicit hope for regeneration in the coming new year.

To that end, I offer two rethinkings on harmony and health that may prove helpful. The Essay on Harmony was written in the year 2000. My style has changed greatly since then, but the substance remains timely. In contrast, comments on The Way Music Works adds my view point to a recent psychological analysis of music’s effect.

 

Angel Calling

Essay 8. HARMONY

The art of music has been especially considered divine, because it is the exact miniature of the law working through the whole universe. For instance, if we study ourselves we shall find that the beats of the pulse and the heart, the inhaling and exhaling of the breath, are all the work of rhythm. Life depends upon the rhythmic working of the whole mechanism of the body. Breath manifests as voice, as word, as sound; and the sound is continually audible, the sound without and the sound within ourselves. — Sufi Inayat Khan, Music

Artistic activity does not consist in art itself, as such. It penetrates into a deeper world in which all art forms of things inwardly experienced flow together, and in which the harmony of soul and cosmos in the nothing has its outcome in reality. — Bruce Lee, The Tao of Jeet Kune Do (in The Warrior Within)

When we dance, we are like hobos who jump on the freight train of the beat. Swept along, our bodies automatically adjust to the pace, pulse, and the rhythm of the sound; the music evokes an organized pattern of responses. The emotional pulse of great concert music entrains an entire audience. — Don Campbell, The Mozart Effect

THE FRONT

The Greek root of harmony means fitting. Webster’s first definition is a combination of parts fit into a pleasing or orderly, continuous whole. The second is agreement in feeling, action, ideas or interests, resulting in peaceable or friendly relations. Third is an orderly arrangement according to color, size or shape.

Fourth is an arrangement of parallel passages of different authors, especially of the scriptures, so as to bring out corresponding qualities. Fifth, harmony refers to agreeable sounds, usually the simultaneous sounding of two or more tones structured into chords that are satisfying to the ear.

In Old English, carpenters were called joiners because it was their job to join pieces of wood so they fit together into well-constructed furniture or entire dwellings. There is poetic resonance in Jesus being raised in the home of a simple carpenter. It was his calling to link the levels of experience, earth to heaven, humans to their maker, individuals with their brethren.

In the context of all creative endeavors, the resonance of the joiner concept with the Sanskrit word “yoga,” which means “union,” and in turn, their relevance to the “Unified Field Theory” of Einstein’s heart’s desire deserve understanding and application.

On a small scale, social harmony depends on a sympathetic resonance between inner and outer organizations. An individual can not fit in with family, business or government structures any better than she is organized and harmonized from within. This calls for creating a personal lifestyle which allows sufficient time for introspection and atunement to the silent voice of conscience that calls to self-correction and devotion.

From the unfailing well-spring of inner resources, one draws the strength to succeed in daily action. What some people call multi-tasking is the ability to weave many different responsibilities to self, family, business and larger community into a comfortable fabric, tailoring a lifestyle suited to one’s life immediate needs and long-term goals.

From the other direction, harmonious order within institutions depends on the how well their leaders are able to link organizational goals and practices with the aspirations and abilities of individual members.

This depends on the ability to recognize and adjust to changing social patterns and the ability to steer a steady course through troubled times. This in turn requires keen commitment to hearing and doing the will of the unseen Creator as an accountable steward and worthy protector of the community.

The harmony of the whole depends upon respectful cooperation of each and every part. No one can afford to demean, exploit or sabotage others. Anyone who stands apart as if exclusively important harms everyone, self included. For in fact, each part is indispensable to the health, success and well-being of the whole.

The I Ching hexagram called Nourishment advises us to observe whom leaders choose to nourish and in what way. Most schools are equipped to feed the mind. Most do little to feed the heart or spirit. Few give the practical skills required to live harmoniously with fellow human beings much less the larger natural environment.

Through the growing interest in nutrition research, we’re becoming increasingly sophisticated about feeding the body. Music, however, nourishes in ways physical food can not, especially at levels empirical science doesn’t acknowledge. It is one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to expand awareness of natural order and atune the mind-spirit to invisible harmony.

THE BACK

Opposites of harmony are unison, and, in the extreme, silence. Both have positive and negative potentials. If people speak in unison because they’ve been brainwashed or intimidated, it is a violation of free will. If they agree from common understanding, it is ideal. If people are mute out fear or indifference, it bodes ill for the future. When they maintain respectful silence in the presence of their maker, all goes well with the world.

In sum, perversions of harmony are called conflict. Dissonant, clashing sounds are displeasing to the mind, hurtful to the ears and harmful to the nervous system. Similarly, differences of ego-driven opinion and self-interest that cannot be respectfully, peaceably resolved disrupt the collective good.

Jupiter

So now, I will take up where I left off in a recent post on Psychology’s Blind Spot. I’m responding to a video called Why MUSIC Has The EFFECTS It Has – Jordan Peterson With Howard Bloom. The descriptor reads, “Jordan Peterson talks about the effects of music, what it represents and what it does to your brand [sic] and soul with Howard Bloom.”

I posted this comment:

Logical, clever, even pompous but gravely limited and misleading. The I Ching is the ancient and ultimate map of universal patterns. The 64 hexagrams (number not coincidental) correspond and resonate with DNA. You intuit this but unfortunately lack practical knowledge. You’re addressing effects, not root causes. This info is way outside the parameters of empirical science. Harmony of the spheres is the stuff of chakras detailed in the Vedas. This is not said lightly, or disrespectfully.

Please forgive me that I haven’t the patience to transcribe word-for-word what I find particularly annoying nonsense. In sum, they’re describing patterns in brain structure as if they account for music’s psychological effects.

Mistake #1. Saying patterned mechanisms in the physical brain account for music’s psychological effects is roughly the equivalent of confusing a physical record player with the sound coming out of it.

Mistake #2. They hold that music is a sociological phenomena specific to particular classes or culture. They also seem to associate it primarily with mating rituals. In fact, music vibrations have psychological effect because they resonate with the internal structure of the subtle chakra system. The second chakra has to do with sex, but there is a full spectrum of other centers with equally essential functions. I’ll continue what I started earlier to show you here a bit of what I mean.

In the Blind Spot post I stated:

Bottom line: mystical experiences and genuine psychological transformation are not accomplished by mental speculation or even acts of sheer will power. They occur in the deeper layers of the Life Wheel which have, disastrously, been made taboo in Western civilizations. Einstein called the blind spot “the fateful fear of metaphysics.”

I described the chakras, the energy fields revealed in the ancient Vedas.

Chakras . . . are “spinning wheels of light.” Seven basic ones are aligned along the human spine. In ascending order, each is associated with an increasingly more sophisticated developmental stage, state of consciousness and related psychological issues.

I continued:

. . . music moves us because its sound sets the chakras in sympathetic vibration. Inspired music has a healing, uplifting affect on the nervous system, the emotions, and the soul. It is not coincidence that the seven notes of the Western chromatic scale correspond with the vibratory rates of the seven major chakras. Indian ragas intentionally draw on chakra correlations to soothe emotions or lift the spirit. In the West, similar effects of inspired music have been described as The Mozart Effect. [Links to music videos give a hint of what’s possible through music.]

For purposes of this discussion, here’s a summary picture of the issues associated with each center.

ChakraIssues

Even at a glance, this picture suggests on the one hand, the universal nature of music, and on the other, different levels of musical effect. For example, military bands or battle calls rouse the fighting spirit. Other ragas, by time, season, or purpose stimulate the mood of love or spiritual upliftment.

One field study I recall reading many years ago disproved the specificity of cultural background to psychological response. An anthropologist played Mozart for a tribe of cannibal listeners. They were delighted and tapped their feet to the music. He then played Beethoven. They frowned and became agitated.

In many cultures and in different contexts, music has been used medicinally for healing effect. One example is the lyre to which the young shepherd boy David sang, soothing the feverish madness of King Saul.

This second picture is suggestive of ways chakra energies are blocked as well as how restoring vital circulation lifts oppressions:

ChakraDuality

In this necessarily brief “tip of the iceberg,” merely suggestive hint of the oceans of wisdom resting beneath the surface of Western psychologies, I’ll leave you with just one more teaser to ponder.

The chakras are correlated not only with notes of the musical scale, but also with specific archangels and the heavenly host who sang:

Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace,

good will toward men.

 

Psychology’s Blind Spot

In his free-association-style Bible Series lecture on Jacob’s Ladder, JBP pulled just about everything out of his hat except the one relevant personal experience he could have brought to bear on Jacob’s dream. Let me tell you what I mean.

What Dr. Peterson did bring to bear on the Old Testament story – the one that inspired the rock song “Highway to Heaven”included the psychological sufferings of Freud, Jung and even Darwin. He drew on his favorite Russian writers — Dostoevsky and Solzhenitsyn, the Kwakwaka’wakw people (he’s an initiate) and a potlatch he attended, as well as research on administering hallucinogenic mushrooms to dying patients to induce mystical experience. The implication: Jacob’s vision might have been a chemically induced shamanic journey.

Wow. For me, that’s more than quite a stretch.

Here’s the experience I hoped he would focused on. It grabbed my attention as a valid confirmation of Eastern meditation traditions. Sadly, just as Einstein missed the unified theory implicit in his famous formula, Dr. Peterson missed the significance of the glimpse he’d been given. He persistently by-passes it, which puzzles and frustrates me. Hard to say whether the problem is cultural bias, wariness of “new age” distortions, deliberate denseness, or “professional” qualms.

Jupiter

I’m drawing from memory of a video interview, so the details may not be perfect. In any case, the substance is correct. The interviewer asked Dr. Peterson about the mystic experience he had while listening to classical music. I’m pretty sure it was Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony.

In the Greek pantheon, Jupiter was king of the gods. He ruled over the affairs of gods and men from his throne on Olympus, akin to the way God is said to reign in heaven.

Dr. Peterson said in his mind, it was as if the gates of heaven opened up before him.

heaven opening.jpg

The imagery of a stairway leading to heaven is universal and no coincidence. It bears an unmistakable resemblance to the ladder of Joseph’s dream.

Blake’s artistic depiction of the ladder below was included in the lecture. JBP pointed out that the spiral effect is suggestive of the DNA helix. The transformative implications are implicit.

blake JL

The best way he could describe his personal experience of the heavens opening, he said, was that it seemed like a lotus flower unfolding. I instantly thought of the crown chakra lotus.

crown lotus

JBP’s finest moment (from my point of view) came in his answer to the last question of the lecture’s Q & A session. He came very close to touching on the tradition which explains his mystical experience as well as Jacob’s dream. Almost.

People who are interested in grand narratives have pointed out that there’s a set of common mythological themes across many cultures. They can be the same on one level, different on another. But humanity coalesces on what’s the same over a reasonable period of time.

. . . there’s this constant force [literally, energy structure] that makes our ethical presuppositions converge. And then that’s automatically expressed in those stories.

In one way, he is correct. But in another, significant way, not. Stories take on the images of each specific culture. In that way they are different. What they share in common, however, is not myth or archetype but SCIENCE, meaning “with knowledge.” Jacob’s ladder is certainly a striking example.

Lacking this universal, underlying science, humanity cannot be properly, completely understood. Psychologies remain incomplete and inaccurate. They have grievous blind spots.

Put another way, Huston Smith, premier comparative religion teacher and devout practitioner of what he calls “timeless wisdom,” wrote:

Twenty years ago I wrote a book, The Religions of Man, which presented the world’s enduring traditions in their individuality and variety. It has taken me until now to see how they converge. . . .

What then emerges is a remarkable unity underlying the surface variety. When we look at human bodies, what we normally notice is their surface features, which of course differ markedly. Meanwhile on the insides, the spines that support these motley physiognomies are structurally very much alike. It is the same with human outlooks. Outwardly they differ, but inwardly it is as if an “invisible geometry” has everywhere been working to shape them to a single truth.

This “invisible geometry” is literally the snake-like intersections of energy path ways criss-crossing and intersecting at the spine. They link the seven centers in a pattern strikingly similar to the DNA double helix represented in the Caduceus, the healing staff of the messenger god Mercury, familiar now as the symbol of modern medicine.

In Yes, AND . . . I underscored that chakras are NOT merely myths or stories.

Ancient Himalayan sages mapped the internal energy transformers knows as chakras (“wheels).” Know how to activate them, they taught. You’ll experience enlightenment.

. . . Though recorded in ancient scripture, sages experienced vibrant spinning wheels of energy in deep meditative states as a fact of inner reality. Their reports are not the same as poetic symbolism, mythology or parable. Chakras exist as literal fact, integral to inner life as an experience which can and has been replicated by countless practitioners over time.

Chakras as energetic concept are key to the process of psychological transformation. I address the middle, e = mc2 level of the universal Life Wheel in The Gatekeeper and the consequences of psychology’s blind spot in Paradigms are a Matter of Life or Death. In The Highway to Heaven Is a Two-Way Street, I put Jacob’s Ladder in this larger context.

Bottom line: mystical experiences and genuine psychological transformation are not accomplished by mental speculation or even acts of sheer will power. They occur in the deeper layers of the Life Wheel which have, disastrously, been made taboo in Western civilizations. Einstein called the blind spot “the fateful fear of metaphysics.” The fateful-fear of self-awareness comes in its train, sometimes justified, most often times NOT.

Descriptions of heaven’s gates opening and unfolding lotus flowers come straight out of the ancient Vedas. The seventh chakra located above the head is described as a Thousand Petaled Lotus. To mystic vision, it looks something like this:

crown chakra x 4

Chakras, again, are “spinning wheels of light.” Seven basic ones are aligned along the human spine. In ascending order, each is associated with an increasingly more sophisticated developmental stage, state of consciousness and related psychological issues. Here is a brief description of the crown chakra:

The 7th or crown chakra is located at the top of the head and is related to the induction of spiritual energy into the body. Said to control every aspect of the body and mind, it is associated with full enlightenment and union with God. This chakra is normally not fully opened in most humans, although pictures of saints and other spiritual beings with”halos” are depictions of activated crown chakras.

Here’s a picture of all seven, putting the heavenly ruling seventh center in context:

chakras

In the creative process, the non-physical precedes and drives the physical. Western psychologists therefore would benefit greatly from understanding the correlations of each subtle energetic center with resultant mental and biological conditions. Put the other way, lacking this foundation, their understanding of human nature is seriously skewed.

The other six are briefly described:

  • The 1st or root chakra, located at the base of the spine, is involved with the physical process of elimination and the organs that work with that function. It is the chakra associated with the emotional energy of survival, as well as with grounding to the physical plane.
  • The 2nd or sacral chakra is located about three inches below the navel. This chakra corresponds to sexual energy and the reproductive organs. It is also associated with creativity and intrinsic life force.
  • The 3rd or solar-plexus chakra is located at the navel and several inches above. Its energy is associated to digestion and the digestive organs, personal power, and self mastery.
  • The 4th or heart chakra it located in the center of the chest. On the physical level, it works with the lungs and heart. On the emotional level, it works with the energy of compassion and love.
  • The 5th or throat chakra is located in the throat area, at the base of the neck. It is the chakra that is involved with the process of communication, speech, and hearing. The ears are associated with this chakra, as well as the vocal apparatus.
  • The 6th or brow chakra is located in the center of the forehead, between and slightly above the eyes. Often called “the third eye,” it is associated with imagination and psychic abilities, along with mental activity and brain function.

We are not completely out of tune with the effects of chakras, although due to taboos on conscious awareness, we experience them for the most part subliminally, sometimes at the hands of skillful, unscrupulous exploiters.

For one thing, differences amongst therapeutic approaches is proof of differences in chakra orientation. A lateral view of chakras aligned along the spinal column reflects the qualitative differences in focus (Dr. Peterson calls them temperaments) amongst well-known  psychologists.

invisible geometry sized

In addition, as described earlier:

. . the Western way of ignoring and denying the reality and influence of chakras makes life’s journey far more difficult than need be. But it can’t and doesn’t cause them to cease to exist. Despite scientific prohibitions, most of us still have glimpses of transcendent experience, most often through the arts.

For example, music moves us because its sound sets the chakras in sympathetic vibration. Inspired music has a healing, uplifting affect on the nervous system, the emotions, and the soul. It is not coincidence that the seven notes of the Western chromatic scale correspond with the vibratory rates of the seven major chakras. Indian ragas intentionally draw on chakra correlations to soothe emotions or lift the spirit. In the West, similar effects of inspired music have been described as The Mozart Effect.

In addition, the (albeit too-often unconscious) effect of the chakras on human experience is particularly strong in the visual arts, including the full spectrum from fashion and home-making to interior design, architecture and fine arts. This in due in large part to the fact that the chakras are associated with geometric shapes, as well as with specific colors of rainbow spectrum.

closing

JBP’s Jacob’s Ladder Part I lecture compels two spin-off blogs. One will expand on the effects music has on health on each of the seven levels. Being composed of vibrations, it resonates with and activates the chakras, for better or worse. The other will address literary criticism, which Western civilization has backwards.

 

 

Be Harmless, NOT Defenseless

Jordan Peterson is drawing predictable backlash upon himself.

Though a clinical psychologist, he seems irrationally intent on attracting danger, while at the same time, logically, persuasively but incorrectly protesting that retreating from conflict when you shouldn’t “will cause self-annihilation.”

The qualifier is “when you shouldn’t.” Sun Tzu, reputed author of The Art of War, is keen on the importance of knowing when to make strategic retreats. There is, after all, a time and place for every purpose under heaven.

Second, what does he mean by “self-annihilation?” As righteous warriors grounded in Old Testament faith know full well, the true Self is indestructible. So also, savvy martial artists who are seeped in I Ching wisdom trust that true identity is neither enhanced nor diminished by the dance of advance and retreat.

So what’s really at stake in pressing forward against the tide, against the grain, against the laws of nature? Why vent rage, disgust and contempt at despicable, treacherous, venomous opponents? If he exposes and humiliates them, however much deserved, they will mirror his negativity back – in spades. It’s called backlash. Every action generates an opposite and equal reaction. It’s a natural law of psychological physics.

There are other, wiser ways to shift gears — address valid grievances on higher ground without attracting inevitable vengeful retaliation.

Persisting in upping the ante, provoking human snakes, smells like pride to me. Hubris, to be precise. The stuff of tragedy in the making.

I am afraid for this highly articulate but unin-formed professor.

Here’s an example of the inevitable retaliation and escalating conflict he has drawn not only into his own personal life, but also into his neighborhood — not to mention the media.

On October 26th, 2017, he posted on Twitter: Those who consider themselves my enemies have been posting these all around my home neighbourhood.

Here’s the poster:

jbp

I tweeted back, “What else would you expect?” Afterwards, I realized that without this explanation, the remark wouldn’t make sense. Hence, this blog of explanation.

Phoenix - sized

Please understand. I do not write to humiliate or diminish Dr. Peterson. Quite the opposite. He has become to the current generation of young people what John F. Kennedy was to mine. A symbol of nobility. Of hope.

I remember as painfully as if it were yesterday what it felt like to me and my friends when we heard the news that his brains had been splattered by an assassin’s bullet.

I dearly want that NOT to happen again.

I’m writing to warn Dr. Peterson. To suggest ways to protect himself, not only for his own sake and for his family’s, but for those to whom he has become a hero – who would be shattered were he to come to harm.

To plead with him to rethink the limited psychology which allows him to rationalize such intensely emotional, dangerous risk-taking.

I’m writing to urge him to add to his armory of psychologies the survival wisdom of Lao Tze and the foundational attitudes prescribed in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Their teachings have guided the lives of truth seekers of thousands years. There must be something of value to recommend them, having withstood this test of time.

For example, Dr. Peterson knows not whereof he speaks when he says, “Don’t be harmless.

Is he intentionally rejecting ancient wisdom by this word choice, or is he unaware of the significance of this virtue in ancient lore?

Lao Tze, in fact, uses harmlessness as his defense. It’s a time-honored strategy.

Here is a famous drawing of Lao Tze riding his ox. He is credited with writing The Tao Te Ching, which next to the Bible is the world’s most often translated scripture. It shows the enlightened sage as so intricately merged with the beast which carries him that they appear inseparable. This image represents the higher mind which has tamed and harnessed the energy of emotions. He uses them to carry him towards his destination.

Lao Tze on Ox

I will give you a hint of this survival approach to dealing with snakes excerpted from Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tze’s Common Sense Way of Change.

snake

Passage 50 reads, in part:

Those who live by the law are protected by it.

They travel the world without being injured.

In the midst of hostilities, no one knows where to attack.

Wild beasts sense no openings to penetrate.

Enemies find no weaknesses to exploit.

Armies can’t locate a fortress to assault.

This accords with the following section about harmlessness used as defense strategy.

Non-Violence

Taoists abhor selfish meddling and gratuitous violence as equally destructive to individuals, society and the environment.

In this, their thinking is in accord with the most fundamental tenet of the yoga. Non-violence is the virtue listed first among the commitments which constitute the fundamental basis of yoga disciplines. The attitude of harmlessness, or non-violence, is the prerequisite upon which all more advanced spiritual practices depend.

In Sutra 35 of Book II, Patanjali informs us that:

When non-violence in speech, thought and action is established, one’s aggressive nature is relinquished and others abandon hostility in one’s presence.

Similarly, in Passage 55 Lao Tze describes sages as being accomplished in the ways of the ancient yoga masters:

Sages who master the infant’s harmlessness:

don’t startle wasps or snakes, and therefore don’t get stung;

don’t threaten angry beasts, and therefore are left in peace;

don’t bother birds of prey and therefore aren’t carried off.

Lao Tze describes non-violence as the cornerstone of social stability. In Passage 68 he tells us:

The best leaders act with subtle dignity.

Successful warriors move with alert caution.

Enduring winners shun prideful vengeance.

Good employers quietly support their workers.

The way of non-violence is the supreme treasure of communities

founded in the eternal Tao.

book header bird

Again, let me emphasize that I wish Dr. Peterson all the best. May he live long and prosper. Let him put on the full armor of God for protection. Give him the wisdom to tame his righteous indignation with the discipline of a seasoned sage. Let him survive as a shining inspiration to those who have come to treasure his innate nobility.

As yet, for whatever reasons, he remains unresponsive. The Catch 22 seems to be that since I’m not a well-known public figure, he assumes he has no grounds for communication. In Don’t throw pearls before swine, he says, “You cannot talk to people who will not engage in a discussion.”

So be it. He says he had no desire to engage in the legislative issue that catapulted him to fame, but felt compelled to do so. In exactly the same way, I had no desire whatsoever to write these blogs, but felt deeply compelled to do so. Unfathomable but somehow irresistible.

Whatever the outcome, at least I’ve done my best. And having done so, leave the future in trust to God’s will.

Angel Calling